Department of Veterans Affairs Major Medical Facility Lease Authorization Act of 2013by Representative Charles W. Boustany Jr.
Posted on 2013-12-10
BOUSTANY. I thank the chairman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3521. I want to applaud Chairman Jeff Miller and the chairman of the Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, and their respective staffs on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee for advancing this important bill and improving veterans' access to medical care.
I also appreciate the work that the two Senators from my home State, Senators Landrieu and Vitter, have been doing. They have pledged their support in the Senate, and we hope to get this done before the end of the year.
This last year, more than 66 Members of Congress signed our bipartisan, bicameral letter calling for progress on the 27 major medical facility leases proposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs during the past 2 years.
Among these leases are two clinics promised by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to Lake Charles and Lafayette in my congressional district. Without congressional authorization of these clinics, more than 3,000 south Louisiana veterans must travel in excess of 3 hours to receive medical care. A recent CBS Evening News story featured one of these wounded warriors in south Louisiana who goes without care because his family must miss work to drive him 3 hours. It is unacceptable.
The American people expect Congress to demonstrate that it can govern effectively in a bipartisan manner, and this is one way we can do it, by keeping our promise to our veterans.
The passage of this bill will improve medical access for more than 340,000 veterans in 22 States, and that's why I urge our House and Senate colleagues to send this bill to the President before the end of year.
Again, I thank the committee and Chairman Miller for his fine work on this and for giving me the opportunity to speak.
Mr. MICHAUD. Mr. Speaker, once again I would urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3521, as amended.